ABCA names Bill Nieuwland 2009 Conservation Dinner artist

The Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority hosts its 20th Conservation Dinner April 16 at the South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter. This year’s feature artist is Bill Nieuwland of Huron Woods. The 64-year old self-taught artist frequently paints scenes that capture the ABCA’s mandate area. Nieuwland is donating three pieces: two giclée prints of previous work (Blue Point Sunset and Diamond Lake in Temagami), and a new, original work that he painted from the vantage point of his home on the Old Ausable River Channel called My Backyard.

As told to Casey Lessard

We moved here because we loved the trees, the beach, the river, the wildlife, the solitude, the quiet.
I always painted nature as a kid, and that’s what I love doing. I paint a lot of local scenes and a lot of water scenes. I did one of Arkona, and they sold a print of that at their silent auction last year.
My favourite spot is either the beach or the river. Most of my paintings are made in those areas. I’ve done four of my backyard, but you can only do so many of your backyard. I’ve done several of the Pinery. Then there’s the beach; I’ve done logs on the beach, geese on the beach, a lot of scenes on the beach.
I try to paint as much detail and dimension as I can. You want to outdo yourself every time. To do that, I look at other artists who do excellent work and wonder how they do it. I try to catch the methods they use, but I’m not trying to outdo them; I’m trying to outdo myself.
Four years ago, Doug Ellison suggested we join him at the dinner, and we were impressed. The dinner and atmosphere were great. They’ve picked some real good artists in the past. It’s quite a recognition and I’ve been donating prints to the silent auction ever since. I’m able to show my art to 450 people and be recognized in another area other than just Grand Bend. It’s a way for them to raise money. Plus it gives me exposure to people interested in my art.
I live on the river. I want it maintained in good standing. The ABCA does a good job and they have a lot of support, with a lot of people coming to the dinner. I believe in what they stand for: conservation areas are very important. I love nature, so I want to keep it as good as we can keep it.

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